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Kidney Int. 1975 Feb;7(2):94-102.

Lack of relationship of potential difference to fluid absorption in the proximal renal tubule.


Fluid absorption by isolated perfused rabbit proximal convoluted tubules is accompanied by an electrical potential difference (PD), negative in the lumen, when the tubule is bathed by rabbit serum and perfused with an ultrafitrate of that serum. In contrast the PD is positive when the perfusate composition approximates that of fluid in the late proximal tubule in vivo, which lacks glucose, amino acids and bicarbonate. The principal purpose of the present studies was to investigate the characteristics of fluid absorption under these conditions. Proximal convoluted tubules were dissected from rabbit kidneys and perfused in vitro. When the PD was positive, the mean net fluid absorption was 81 nl mm minus 1 min minus 1. The positive PD is caused by a chloride concentration difference across the tubule epithelium (higher in the lumen than in the bath). Elimination of the chloride concentration difference by replacing the bicarbonate in the bath as well as in the perfusate with chloride caused the PD to fall to zero without a significant change in the rate of fluid absorption. Therefore, neither the positive PD nor the chloride concentration difference is significantly related to the fluid absorption. Ouabain inhibited fluid absorption under all of the above conditions, making it likely that the fluid absorption is due to active sodium transport. Although the results are consistent with the generally accepted view that active sodium transport is a major driving force for fluid absorption, the mechanism of anion (chloride) transport is uncertain owing to the lack of correlation between fluid absorption and the transepithelial PD.

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